KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE!
Updated: May 11, 2020
Terry Casales - March 5, 2020
As I watched Nik Wallenda walk on that cable across the active Masaya volcano in Nicaragua last night, March 4th, 2020, the Lord revealed to me several things. When you are walking on a tightrope or cable, it is very important to focus on what you are doing at all times. Every step taken is vital and must be taken with intentional precision.
As he took each step, Nik kept his focus on Jesus. I can imagine every time he walks on a tightrope, Nik may think about the biblical account of the time the apostles were in the middle of a storm as they were attempting to cross the Sea of Galilee. Prior to their departure, Jesus had instructed them to go ahead of Him and told them that He would meet them on the other side.
The apostles had no idea what they were about to sail into. The apostles entered into a very dangerous storm, and they became gripped with fear. In the middle of the storm raging around them, Jesus appears to them, walking on the water, frightening them. At first they thought He was some sort of ghost because they saw Jesus clearly defying the laws of nature by walking on the water, doing what was impossible in the natural.
As Jesus approached the boat, He assured them by saying, “Be not afraid, it is I!” It is as if He was telling them, “Do not worry, I Am here to rescue you.”
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, [c]“Be of good cheer! [d]It is I; do not be afraid.”
Matthew 14:25-27 (NKJV)
I imagine the apostles could not believe their eyes at this point! Here Jesus was, walking on the water in the middle of a violent storm right in front of them! This was the first time the apostles would see an even greater manifestation of the power of God displayed — seeing Jesus do a mighty exploit that only God could do. One would think that, after all of the other miracles prior to this event, the apostles would believe Jesus is the Son of God and has the same power as God the Father. These men had just witnessed the feeding of the five thousand, and they carried the left overs on the boat they where currently in, and they could not wrap their minds around what they were looking at!
Peter wanted to make sure this was not an illusion (as he believed his eyes were tricking him) so he asked Jesus, “If You are who You say You are, then I will walk on the water to You because You can clearly do what looks impossible!”
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” - Matthew 14:28 (NKJV)
Jesus called him on it and asked him to step out of the boat and walk over to Him. When Peter heard Jesus’ invitation, no doubt his faith was stirred and grew to the point in that moment to where he completely believed he could actually walk to Jesus on the water!
29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. - Matthew 14:29 (NKJV)
I can imagine Peter did not take his eyes off Jesus for one second as he placed one foot out of the boat and then the other one. It makes me think of the faith that a baby has when taking his/her first steps as his father is calling him/her to come to him. I believe that Peter, in that moment, had the child-like faith required to believe God can make what seems impossible now possible!
Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” - Mark 10:15 (NKJV)
Peter was taking step, after step, toward Jesus, keeping His eyes on Him with complete trust that He would hold him up. Then, for one split second, Peter took his gaze away from Jesus and looked at the storm swirling around him and fear immediately entered him, and he cried out to Jesus to rescue him.
30 But when he saw [e]that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” - Matthew 14:30-31 (NKJV)
Peter went from trusting in the supernatural power of God, and operating in it, to trusting in what he knew in his carnal mind about the laws of nature. He went from seeing with spiritual eyes back to seeing with his natural eyes. He went from believing with his whole heart to allowing his mind to play tricks on him, trying in his own strength, to make sense out of what was happening around him in the natural. I feel like Jesus gave Peter a sneak preview of what it is like to operate out of the new wineskin (Kingdom mindset) for a few moments before Peter went right back into the familiarity of the old wineskin (world mindset).
This is such a good example of whenever we take our eyes off Jesus - when we stop believing that He is who He says He is and that He will do what He said He will do — and, instead, choose to look at our circumstances below, reinforcing a belief system based on natural experience alone. When we focus on our circumstances in the natural realm, we will automatically go into fear instead of faith — resulting in we no longer operating out the supernatural reality of the realm of Kingdom of God. This is why it is so important to stay present with God and to keep our eyes on the things above!
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. - Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)
When I learned how to drive years ago, I was taught to look ahead in the direction of where the road was going instead of focusing on the hood of my car, because where your eyes go, you go.
As long as Peter kept his eyes on where He was going, to Jesus, he headed in the right direction. But when he looked at the obstacle right in front of him — when he chose to look at the problem instead looking past it and looking at the Solution, Jesus — that is when he stopped moving forward because his body followed the new direction of his focus and he went down into the water.
Peter failed to keep his eyes on the Prize, Jesus! His mind went back to what was familiar, to what he had understood his whole life, to the mindset he was used to that focuses on the natural law instead of the new thing — the Person of Jesus — that was ahead!
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, - Philippians 3:13 (NKJV)
Now back to Nik Wallenda’s walk across the crater of an active volcano in Nicaragua last night…
It is very interesting to learn that this volcano is known as “The Mouth of Hell.” With each step Nik took on that cable, hovering over an active volcano, with hot lava below him — with each step he took he was intentional to keep his focus on Jesus! With every step, Nik intentionally thanked and praised Jesus with singing! One of the songs he sang as he walked on that cable was “I’ll Raise a Hallelujah!”
Nik took on the same heart posture of faith that led David to worship and praise God, dancing before Him in celebration as they brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem:
14 Then David danced[a] before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. - 2 Samuel 6:9-23 (NKJV)
Nik stayed present with the Lord, even in the middle of a very dangerous environment! Nik made the decision to stay in faith with a spirit of praise and chose to completely trust that Jesus was going to get him to the other side, regardless of what the environment he was in looked like, during those 31 minutes getting across that volcano!
One thing that has always amazed me about Nik and his family is the pioneering spirit they carry! They have always looked for new mountains to climb! They have the courage and the tenacity to take on new challenges, however impossible they may appear to conquer in the natural. They continue to choose to trust Jesus to help them to overcome the spirit of fear they face, as they take on new challenges with unshakeable faith in Him! Nik Wallenda, like Joshua, did not allow the negative report of men about what was in the promised land keep him from going into the land and taking it by force! Nik was so focused on Jesus and at peace that he was not even distracted by the negativity of the reporters speaking to him. Nik, like Joshua, was confident and knew without a doubt that God was with Him!
Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. - Isaiah 43:19 (NKJV)
7 And the Lord said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt[d] you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. - Joshua 3:7 (NKJV)
Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)
What has impressed me the most about Nik’s behavior during his walk, is that he NEVER wavered on his faith in Jesus and kept His eyes on Him — Nik was operating from the atmosphere of the peace of God that surpasses all understanding! Even in those circumstances, as he walked across on that cable, in that toxic and dangerous environment, he took the opportunity to share his testimony of how Jesus has worked in his life and the hope that we can have in Him to step out of the boat and pursue our God given dreams! He shared that all things are possible with God! Nik was operating out the Kingdom of Heaven, in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! It was abundantly clear that the Lord was with Him every step of the way!
Nik Wallenda made history again last night, with the Lord’s help, becoming the first man to ever walk across an active volcano on a cable!
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)
Nik kept his eyes on the Prize, Jesus, with joy in his heart!! To God be the Glory!!